Apple has new features planned for its big, new iOS update—but not as many as you may expect. According to a Bloomberg report, the next sweeping iOS update, codenamed “Peace” and likely to be called iOS 12, will include a number of app redesigns, the expansion of Animoji into Facetime, and other changes but not some of the biggest rumored changes such as redesigned home screens for iPhone and iPad. Instead of filling iOS 12 with a bevy of new features, Apple is reportedly changing strategies to allow developers more time to perfect the new features to ensure reliability.
The biggest change planned for iOS 12, slated for release this fall, is a universal app system that would allow one app to work across iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers. Currently, users have to download separate iOS and macOS apps to use the same programs across their mobile devices and desktops or laptops. Along with this change, Apple could bring some mobile-specific apps to macOS, like the Home app that controls HomeKit-enabled smart home devices.
Animojis will find another home in Facetime when iOS 12 is released. Apple is reportedly working on increasing the number of AR characters available and allowing users to don them during live Facetime video chats. A new iPad is reportedly in the works that has Apple’s FaceID camera, which would allow it to support Animojis as well (Animojis are only currently available on the iPhone X, which has the new FaceID camera). Also planned for the new software update are a revamped stock-trading app and Do Not Disturb feature, an updated search view that leans more heavily on Siri, a new interface for importing photos onto an iPad, and multiplayer augmented reality gameplay.
But with all the features slated to hit iPhones and iPads this fall, even more are being held back. Apple is reportedly working on big changes to the interfaces of iPhone, iPad, and CarPlay; a redesigned Photos app; and an iPad feature that would allow apps to run with several windows at once so users can tap between them like tabs in a browser. Rather than stuff a bunch of new features into a big annual software release—like Apple has done consistently over the years—the company is reportedly focusing on perfecting new tools to reduce bugs and increase overall quality.
The new strategy is designed to help both customers and Apple engineers. Users have noticed many bugs in recent iOS software updates, and a number of features like Apple Pay Cash weren’t ready for Apple’s big software update last fall. While introducing a lot of flashy new features on a predictable schedule has likely kept users updating the software on their Apple mobile devices consistently, it has also caused enough problems for users to notice that many software updates are arriving with bugs. For Apple engineers, more time to work on features that fundamentally change how users interact with Apple devices will hopefully reduce bugs and glitches and produce more reliable features in each update.